More than just a means of warding off vampires or other evil spirits, garlic is a powerhouse nutrient with many health benefits. Though garlic has been used as a health remedy by Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures, was mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud, and has been integral in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, scientists have finally determined what makes garlic such a powerful antioxidant. The compound that gives garlic its aroma and flavor, known as allicin, may well be the world’s most powerful antioxidant, capable of effectively trapping free radicals even better than Vitamin E coQ10 or green tea and grapes.

But garlic lacks the flavanoids found in the latter so scientists had to try to figure out what is so unique about garlic. Researchers have concluded that the power lies in the decomposition of allicin. As allicin decomposes, it is able to react with free radicals extremely rapidly, faster than scientists had ever seen compounds react together before. As it decomposes, allicin creates sulfenic acid and literally as fast as it interacts with the free radicals, it traps and absorbs them.

While garlic is from the same family as leeks, onions, and shallots, these other plants have a slower rate of decomposition of the allicin and so result in lower levels of sulfenic acid to react with the free radicals and therefore do not have the same medicinal properties. Only garlic yields the full medical benefits including antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activities that a multitude of studies have shown, so let’s look at a few of them.

Garlic has been used to shown to reduce plaque deposits on the aortic walls, preventing atherosclerosis and has also been shown to have a positive effect on lowering high blood pressure. It can help regulate blood sugar levels as well as homocysteine levels and may reduce diabetes complications.

Garlic has been used to prevent scurvy due to its vitamin C levels, was used during World War I and II to prevent gangrene due to its antiseptic properties, and many cultures, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, have used garlic to prevent and fight colds and coughs. Garlic can also be used topically to treat fungal infections on the skin and taking garlic supplements have even been shown to reduce tick bite incidence.

All this from a delicious flavorful spice you can use to enhance many of your dishes, so try adding more garlic to your meals. One study on heart health, however, showed that crushing the garlic enhances the benefits, so while there are still benefits to garlic powders and pills, crushing fresh garlic on your food is the best way to maximize its health benefits and yummy flavor. Just make sure your partner enjoys some too!

To your wellness and health: your true wealth!



Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal at
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